Nari Shakti: Labour Ministry issues advisory to employers to promote women workforce participation

Nari Shakti: Labour Ministry issues advisory to employers to promote women workforce participation

The Bhupender Yadav-led labour ministry has issued an advisory to employers to encourage participation of women in the workforce with emphasis on balance between employment and care responsibilities, adequate representation of women in management positions, supporting women entrepreneurs and eliminating gender bias in recruitment, promotion and performance review.

These are part of the 19 provisions including statutory and general measures listed out by the ministry to enhance women participation in the workforce.

“While the government is taking various policy measures to support women in all aspects of work life, it is imperative that the employers should also take the lead in implementing the policies and programmes in the right perspective to encourage women to join the workforce,” it said in the advisory issued on Wednesday.

According to the advisory, the employers should implement family-friendly measures such as paternity leave, parental leaves, family emergency leaves and flexible working arrangements including flexible working hours for men to participate in care responsibilities.

“Every employer should promote women in management and leadership roles, promote women-run enterprises in the value chain, mitigate unconscious biases in recruitment, promotion and evaluation of women employees while undertaking periodic audits to rectify gender pay gap,” it said.

The ministry has laid out 10 statutory provisions in the existing labour laws which the employer needs to adhere to while hiring women workers. These include provisions related to health, safety, social security, wage and work hour related provisions, migration and night shift laws along with other welfare measures to ensure overall well-being and working conditions for women.According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey Report 2022-23, released by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation last year, the female labour force participation rate in the country has improved by 4.2 percentage points from 32.8% in 2021-22 to 37% in 2022-23, as per ‘usual status’ concept of measuring labour force participation.The government is of the view that women’s participation in the workforce has increased in recent years, yet there is ample scope for further improvement that can be addressed through effective implementation of existing policies by employers.

“Though several government initiatives have contributed immensely to addressing the gender gaps and improving female workforce participation in the country, still there are several challenges that need to be addressed to encourage women to participate in the workforce predominantly, including improved access to safety, flexibility and social security,” it said, suggesting that employers should take proactive initiatives.

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Author: Shirley